Taigen Dan Leighton

Ancient Dragon Zen Gate - website for Taigen's Chicago Zen group

Books by Taigen and others he recommends

Cuke Podcast with Taigen 🔊

Shunryu Suzuki and the Lotus Sutra in American Zen - an excerpt from Visions of Awakening Space and Time: Dogen and the Lotus Sutra by Taigen Dan Leighton

Taigen's Peace and Justice Page

2021 - May 27 - Rev. Taihaku Priest/ Tanaka Shinkai Roshi by Taigen

10-29-18 - On the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsberg where Taigen had his Bar Mitzvah

5-21-15 - Taigen Dan Leighton on the meeting of Buddhist teachers and leaders at the White House

4-14-15 - Taigen Dan Leighton's new book, Just This is It is now on the Ancient Dragon website.

Also featured with cover on cuke blog

6-09-13 - Dogen's Explorations of Reality, a three session telecourse with Taigen Dan Leighton.

5-21-13 - The Guitar and the New World: A Fugitive History reviewed by Taigen Dan Leighton

4-26-13 - Starting a page for Fukushima today [a subpage of Engaged Buddhism/Current Events] featuring links and comments from Taigen Dan Leighton and John Steiner - the situation is much worse than it gets credit for being.

11-21-11 - Taigen Dan Leighton's latest book, Zen Questions: Zazen, Dogen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry is now available. Congratulations Taigen!

 - Wisdom Publications link

Excerpts from Zen Questions related to Shunryu Suzuki


8-25-09 - Dragon Zen Gate Message

2007 - Taigen moves to Chicago

12-13-02 - Comment on Shoes Outside the Door

Excerpts from Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression

and one focusing on Mitsu Suzuki, Shunryu's widow

Tree of Life    
Taigen Dan Leighton, Guiding Teacher, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, Chicago

I want to share my personal connection and response to the shooting Saturday at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where eleven people were killed and six wounded.

My Bar Mitzvah was at Tree of Life. It is a few short blocks from where I lived while growing up ages 6 to 17. It was surreal to see on TV the temple where I went to Hebrew and Sunday school with soldiers and Swat teams massed in front.
With a few exceptions, we are first-generation Buddhists, Zen practitioners but still deeply conditioned by our Judeo-Christian roots. 

I have not lived in Pittsburgh since 1972, and I’ve not stayed in regular contact with anyone from there.  But I was there a year ago September to enjoy my 50th high school reunion.  

All the mass shootings are Horrible, from Parkland, Fla. to Sandy Hook to all the terrible shootings every single day on the South Side of Chicago.  But somehow a personal connection intensifies the horror. 

The shooter at Tree of Life was virulently anti-semitic and also he was very specifically anti-refugee, explicitly targeting a Jewish group that supports refugees [HIAS, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society]. Groups at Tree of Life were supporting current refugees fleeing violence including from Central America. A liberal congregation, the rabbi was speaking out on gun control recently.  The person in Florida arrested for sending bombs to former Presidents Obama and Clinton as well as a dozen other Democratic leaders such as Senators Kamala Harris and Corey Booker was a “nationalist" white supremacist who was virulently anti-black, anti-semitic, and anti-refugee.  

Last week a white man in Kentucky unsuccessfully tried to break into an African-American church and then shot and murdered two black people at a nearby grocery store.

We must work against hatred, and for communication and understanding.

All of us are descended from refugees, or from immigrants seeking a better life. Of course some of us are descended from people
forced here in slave ships or from Native Americans, who came much earlier across the Bering Straits.  

Some of us in Chicago regularly face soldiers and Swat teams massed in front of us.  

The issue is the complexity of our intertangled ancient twisted collective karmas, and how to respect all, including both victims of hatred and terrorism, and those manipulated into seeking scapegoats for their real fears and suffering.  

How to include all this with kindness, and still speak truth to power and join actions that stand strongly against hatred and harm is our great koan now.

The current Central American refugees from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, as well as Mideast refugees in Europe, are fleeing war and terrorism instigated and sustained by our own government’s policies.

How is our taking refuge in Buddha connected to the refugees from war, terrorism, and the effects of climate damage.  I somehow feel a kinship as a Dharma refugee. We take refuge in Buddha to return home to something deeper, but also to find refuge from the horrors of the ordinary world which have been exacerbated in this time we are in.  

As Dharma refugees may we strongly speak out and act to support current refugees seeking sanctuary in our country, and work to oppose hatred.   

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